What if we could imagine the future and then go play in it?

This is the goal of Imagined Futures: to create a space where the study of the future is presented to everyone, and everyone can construct his or her own future to then experience and test drive. Call it a museum or call it experiential design-- it's crafting a built environment that allows visitors to explore different veins of technology, sociology and science that will inevitably form our future. Using Los Angeles as the gateway, this expo will demonstrate what visionaries of the past expected our future to be like, what technologists today are developing with an eye to our future, and what storytellers and futurist prognosticate that our next world era will be like. No matter how shocking or unconventional, all future visions should be explored by our guests with equal discernment. This will be a place to study the future, experience the future, and ultimately imagine our place in our shared future.

Based in Los Angeles, the The Imagined Futures Galleries will provide both a platform to highlight and promote the intersection of art and fiction with science and technology by:

  • Bringing together fictional futures and their real-world underpinnings-- fiction can do things that facts cannot
  • Facilitating public discussions, interactions and collaborations between scientists, technologists, storytellers, and artists
  • Providing a resource for educators who want to interest students in both STEM disciplines and the creative arts
  • Considering the impact of imagined futures on the city of Los Angeles

THE IMAGINED FUTURES GALLERIES

Guests visiting the The Imagined Futures will enter and be greeted by a presentation of the history of thinking about the future in Los Angeles. Unlike anywhere else, Los Angeles is a city perfectly comfortable with using imagination to create art and technology and export it worldwide. While it sounds anachronistic or paradoxical, looking through the history of Los Angeles provides a perfect test case as to how imaginative people further society. This first gallery will highlight Los Angeles's central role in the history of NASA's Apollo missions, Jet Propulsion Lab's Mars missions, Disney's Imagineering, Hollywood science fiction and film technology, modern art, video games, publishing, fashion and literature.

GALLERIES OF THE FUTURE

In the galleries that lead through The Imagined Futures, guests will see collections of objects grouped together by an underlying theme. This objects might be:

  • Historic: imagining a futuristic idea from the perspective of a past luminary;

  • From the present: exploring today's understanding of the same concept; or 

  • Purely fictional: imagined objects from the future either as created in movies, TV, or art, or as extrapolated from present technology.

New galleries will be added to constantly address current affairs. The collections may include discussions of robotics, new modes of transportation, future fashion, space travel, time travel, our planet, distant planets, aliens, transhumans, computers, art, and entertainment.

For example, in a gallery on flying vehicles, guests might view Leonardo da Vinci's schematics for his famous flying machines alongside life-size models. In the same space, there might be next-generation vehicles, both real world and conceptual, as created both by by Hollywood film companies and aerospace engineering firms. Using the augmented reality devices and live showmanship, guests can sit in these machines and actually use them. 

Guests will see the progression through time of the interplay between art and technology. The experience will encourage them to imagine a world in which this technology exists: its positive and negative outcomes, and what separates today's tech from past or future ideas.

AUGMENTED REALITY TOUR GUIDES

Guests will be given an augmented-reality device, such as Google Glass headset or an iPad. Guests choose a virtual-reality tour guide who will lead a personalized tour of the galleries. A guide could be a real life person who has created his or her own favorite path through the galleries – like a scientist, famous author or actor. Alternately the guide could be a fictional character who could provide a particular perspective on the galleries. As visitors move through the galleries, guides will ask them to make choices about the ideas they're experiencing.

These choices will impact their virtual visit: a choice made in one gallery might entirely change what a visitor will experience in the next. Guides that present ideas of dystopian futures, for example, might highlight exhibits displaying how technology can be used to create a Big Brother state. Visits with other guides might emphasize the human experience with computers and show how advancements in engineering can lead to very personal outcomes in our own relationships. 

Using augmented reality, guests can experience a fully interactive and entirely unique path which will lead to repeat visits and different conversations.

THE LOS ANGELES FUTURESCAPE

The top floor of the museum provides a panorama of the city of Los Angeles. Those wearing a Google Glass headset who have traversed the galleries will see an augmented-reality view of the city, reflecting a different possible future based on the choices that they have made during their ascent of the galleries. They can see Los Angeles as it appears 50 years into the future; or they could choose to see Los Angeles as it would appear 5,000 years in the future. Each virtual tour will lead to a different vision at a different period: some dystopian, some wild, some inspirational.

It’s important that different visitors see a different city: this panorama should be the climactic point for contemplating the future. The image of each guest's personal imagined future will stay with the visitor long after he or she has left the museum and lead to discussions that continue well past the drive home.

LOS ANGELES IS A CITY FOR TOMORROW

Los Angeles might be thought of as a young city, but it’s a city built atop of thousands of years of imagined futures – and a city that has shaped our conception of the future in the twentieth century like no other. Film has ineluctably influenced – and continues to influence – our vision of the future. A staggeringly large percentage of those films were, and are, made in Los Angeles. A second enormous cultural force in our thinking about the future is the aerospace industry, given immense prominence during the conquest of space in the 1950s and 1960s. The Apollo program was built here. Technology continues to be a major presence in Los Angeles. 

There are museums that study creative arts. And there are institutes that are authorities on science and technology. But more than any city in the world, Los Angeles does not make this distinction. Imaginative storytelling and technology are a feedback loop: they push each other forward. The Imagined Futures will celebrate the history of their intersection in Los Angeles and push the city forward into the future.

PARTNERS IN EDUCATION

And just as a visit doesn’t end at the museum, the museum doesn’t end with its walls. Community outreach will be an important component of The Imagined Futures: staff will work with local institutions and educators to develop curriculums that will bring the our mission more directly into the communities that it serves. A special focus will be made on underrepresented groups: the future doesn't just belong to who we imagine when we think of science fiction fans. It belongs to everyone.

Creating an educated workforce for the Los Angeles of tomorrow is a primary part of the mission of The Imagined Futures. We want to inspire students to consider STEM-related fields, as well as realizing that there's an enormous marketplace for challenging creative work in Los Angeles. We want to make Los Angeles the premiere city for arts and tech jobs. To do that we need to start with education.